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Roku Ultra gets Dolby Vision HDR and Wi-Fi upgrades, stays at $100

Roku's best streamer now matches the HDR format support of Amazon Fire TV 4K and Apple TV 4K.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

Roku just announced a new Streambar, and its other new piece of hardware for 2020 is an updated Roku Ultra player, which will cost $100. Improvements to the company's top-of-the-line streaming device include a better  Wi-Fi range and compatibility with Dolby Vision video -- which is available from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus -- just in time for The Mandalorian Season 2. (It won't be available in the UK or Australia, but that price converts to about £80 or AU$140.)

While many Roku players, including the $50 Roku Streaming Stick Plus, offer 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos audio and standard high dynamic range video, the 2020 Roku Ultra is the first to include Dolby Vision HDR. In CNET's tests Dolby Vision can look a bit better than standard HDR in some cases, but the difference is largely dependent on the TV and the video source. Even so, many owners of Dolby Vision-compatible TVs are likely to want a streamer that can deliver the format. Competing 4K devices with Dolby Vision include the $50 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, the $150 Nvidia Shield TV and the $180 Apple TV 4K

Read more: Best streaming device of 2020: Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield and more compared

The Ultra retains the same shape as its predecessors but the internals have been reconfigured to allow a larger antenna, resulting in 50% greater wireless range according to Roku. It also comes with a quad-core processor that supposedly improves on the 2019 Ultra's already-speedy operation.

Like other Roku devices it will be upgraded to work with Apple's AirPlay and Homekit system soon, and ships with Bluetooth (new for 2020) so you can stream music and podcasts from your phone to your TV. The Ultra remains the only Roku streamer with a wired Ethernet port -- which can be particularly important if your Wi-Fi network is taxed by other devices.

Read more: The best wired streaming device to save your home Wi-Fi bandwidth


The Ultra is the only Roku streamer that works with wired Ethernet.


The 2020 version has Roku's best remote, complete with customizable shortcut buttons and a 3.5mm jack that allows you plug in headphones for private listening. The remote can accept voice commands using Roku's voice system and has volume, mute and power buttons for controlling a TV. The box also includes a remote finder button (now on the side instead of on top) so you can locate the clicker amid the couch cushions. In addition to headphones the box now includes an HDMI cable as well. 

The 2020 Roku Ultra goes on preorder today at Roku.com, and it's expected to be available at major retailers in October. The Ultra will not be available in the UK or Australia.

Aside from the Ultra and Streambar, Roku's lineup remains the same as it was in 2019, and all players from the $30 Express and up will continue to be sold throughout the year and into 2021. Here's the rundown.

Roku's 2020 streaming player lineup

ModelPriceProduct typeStreaming qualityVoice remote with TV controlOther remote extrasRetailers
Express $30Mini boxHDNoNoAll
Express Plus $40Mini boxHDYesNoWalmart only
Premiere $40Mini box4K HDRNoNoAll
Streaming Stick Plus $50Stick4K HDRYesNoAll
Streaming Stick Plus Headphone Edition $60Stick4K HDRYesHeadphone jackBest Buy only
Ultra LT $80Bigger box4K HDRYesHeadphone jackWalmart only
Ultra (new for 2020) $100Bigger box4K HDR with Dolby VisionYesHeadphone jack, remote finder, programmable keys, mute buttonAll